Art stars shine at awards gala – 13 years of “Louies”

On Sunday, April 7, in true academy-award style, 220 community and cultural leaders came together to celebrate the 13th annual Art Star Awards. The event was sponsored by [seven-degrees] and kicked off with a red carpet reception, followed by champagne and hors d’oeuvres outside on the terrace, preceding dinner and the awards ceremony.

Rosemary Swimm, chair of Laguna Beach Arts Alliance, welcomed the guests and spoke about the importance of Laguna Beach Arts Alliance (LBAA) and how it has strengthened the arts in Laguna Beach.

Art Stars shine group

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2019 Art Star Award winners with Louis Longi

Marcia Gay Harden, Honored Guest Speaker, spoke about the importance of art. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to support and understand the importance of art for our children, for our souls, and for our humanity. It is absolutely important that we encourage and increase art in the lives of our children if we are to allow them to be true to themselves as they navigate an increasingly technical world, and a world that may be swinging the pendulum toward restriction and retribution rather than diversity and acceptance.” 

She said she fell in love with acting as a teenager while her father, a navy officer, was stationed in Greece. “I fell hard in love with the theatre. Imagine sitting on the ancient stone rocks of the Herod Atticus theatre, dwarfed below the towering Parthenon. Imagine seeing Medea in flowing red framed between the arches, as night descended upon the Acropolis. I fell in love with the over the top emotion, as the actors cried to the Gods in anguish and joy,” said Harden.

On playing Lee Krasner in the film Pollock for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, she said, “Lee Krasner was of course a painter. I had the ridiculous notion that by virtue of playing her, I would discover that I too was a great painter! During the rehearsal process, I studied art, I went on tours with the curator at the Museum of Modern Art where he would explain why a red dot on a while piece of paper was actually art. I secretly thought when I looked at a Pollock that I could do that too!

 “But when I went to pick up the paintbrush and had my palette in front of me, I had no need to pick up Prussian blue over forest green, I had no need for cadmium yellow, and I didn’t know the difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, or eggshell. I was not a painter. Color and line didn’t speak to me, drawing was not my gift. I was definitely disappointed, and explained it away with the fact that I was playing Lee Krasner at a time in her life when she was stagnant as a painter, but in truth, I’ve never really been a painter, I’m an actor…my medium is people!

Art Stars shine Marcia

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Marcia Gay Harden, Honored Guest Speaker 

“The night I won the Oscar, I will never forget my Dad standing up in the Audience crying ‘Bravo, Bravo,’ with his arms over his head and my mother trying to pull him down by the shirttails. That was a glorious night for me, for the same reasons that tonight is so important to you here in Laguna. It is a moment when artist recognizes other artists…a nod from our peers of a job well done.

“It is art that leads us to re-engage with ourselves, with our family, and with our community. Art heals. I believe it is a kind of worship – a worship of what being human is all about.”

The [seven-degrees] of inspiration grant was awarded to extile artist, author, instructor, and curator Allyson Allen. Allyson uses traditional materials to create unique, dimensional textile art, quilts, dolls, and handmade journals. The characteristics of her unique, original story quilts are considered information art. Her award-winning quilts combine art, craft, research, original design, history, and culture in traditional and contemporary pieces exemplifying a cross-disciplinary approach to quilt making. Next year Allyson will present her mixed media exhibit of art quilts and hand-made journals.

The 2019 Art Star winners were announced:

--Best Arts Program: Laguna Art Museum 100th year Celebration

--Lifetime Achievement: Scott Moore

--Individual Arts Patron of the Year: Riggie Horvath

--Corporate Arts Patron of the Year: The Moulton Company

--Outstanding Arts Collaboration: Festival of Mosaics

--Arts Leadership: Toni Kellenberg

--Artist of the Year: Jason Feddy

Swimm summed up the evening’s sentiment: “For over a decade of recognizing Laguna’s finest in the arts, this year’s event superceded all expectations as we awarded 8 Louies to our towns finest including the inaugural award for volunteerism. LBAA takes great pride in continuing to recognize excellence in our community”.

The Best Arts Program was awarded to Laguna Art Museum for their 100th Anniversary Celebration. In 2018, Laguna Art Museum celebrated the incredible milestone of its centennial with a yearlong schedule of commemorative events that were not only historically informative, but also engaged the community. Some of these included a Centennial Bash, Ball, and Birthday Party, the Film Premiere: Laguna Art Museum at 100, a California Cool Art Auction, and a parade of 1,000 electric umbrellas lighting up Elizabeth Turk’s Shoreline Project.

All Stars shine Scott

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Lifetime Achievement Award winner Scott Moore 

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Scott Moore. Scott has been a Festival of Arts exhibitor for 39 years and a Sawdust Art Festival exhibitor for 30 years. Scott and his wife Carol live in Laguna, where Scott is also the President of the Festival of Arts Foundation, which awards grants to arts related nonprofit organizations in and around Laguna Beach, and he serves as Vice President on the Festival of Arts board of directors. In 2002, Scott was President of the Festival of Arts board of directors and under his steady hand of leadership helped keep the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach.

The Corporate Arts Patron of the Year was awarded to The Moulton Company. 

In 2018, The Moulton Company made two extraordinary gifts to Laguna Beach organizations supported by Nellie Gail Moulton. Laguna College of Art + Design received the Moulton grant designed to benefit the student experience and Laguna Playhouse received the Moulton grant to help renovate the theatre. Chief Executive Officer of The Moulton Company and great-grandson of Nellie Gail Moulton, Jared Mathis, currently serves on the Board of Trustees for both organizations, and, along with the entire Moulton Family, has been active supporters of Laguna Beach.

Individual Arts Patron of the Year was awarded to Riggie Horvath. Horvath (along with her late husband Mike) had a vision of creating a quiet, affordable space for a community of artists to create within the City of Laguna Beach and preserve and enhance the reputation of Laguna Beach as a vibrant artist colony. She continues to foster a community of artists in her studio complex by creating a safe and supportive work environment. Riggie’s generosity of spirit and her joy taken in the creative process uplifts all artists within the community. Her intuitive enjoyment of art has found a real place. She provides to artists a safe haven of refuge, nurturing the creation of art.

The Outstanding Arts Collaboration was awarded to the Festival of Mosaics. Festival of Mosaics was an arts program commissioned by the Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) to create a permanent mural measuring 120 feet long on a wall fronting the church on Glenneyre at St. Ann’s Drive. LOCA Arts Education collaborated with NCC in running public workshops that included personal tile glazing, tile cracking, and color picking, puzzle making, and on-site installation of the wall. Mike Tauber conceived the Festival of Mosaics, in which 700 people participated in the making of this beautiful artwork. Mike’s artistic vision, resulting in a beautiful abstract design, was inspired by an aerial view of Laguna Beach.

All Stars shine Toni

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Arts Leadership Award winner Toni Kellenberg 

The Arts Leadership Award was given to Toni Kellenberg. Toni has been a volunteer with the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association for more than a decade and continues to be a driving force in LPAPA’s sustainability and growth. For the past six years, she has served on the Board of Directors as the Social Media Director, and as LPAPA’s President for the last four years. Under Toni’s leadership and guidance, LPAPA has more than tripled its membership, increased its mentoring and education programs, added events, and expanded its outreach to benefit the artists and community. Toni has passionately committed her time and energy to helping LPAPA connect artists and art lovers to LPAPA’s mission of preserving Laguna’s landscape painting heritage that began more than 100 years ago, while promoting the visibility and continuation of the plein air painting tradition.

The Artist of the Year Award was given to Jason Feddy. Jason is a singer-songwriter, radio host, producer, performer, and event curator – one might say a champion of all things musical in town. Before coming to the US, almost 20 years ago, Jason toured with many of the greatest of his peers including Neil Young, Tears For Fears, and The Cranberries. He’s played at every major venue in Britain, including three nights at The Royal Albert Hall! Jason has performed at all of Laguna’s performance spots and has donated his time and talent to help many of the town’s nonprofit organizations. His notable projects include Shakespeare’s Fool, The Beatroots, his Joe Cocker Tribute Band, and numerous albums and original music, featured in films and TV. Jason has donated his time and talent teaching after-school programs at our elementary schools as well as the Boys & Girls Club.

All Stars shine Sandy

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Volunteer of the Year Sande St. John

The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Sande St. John. Sande has earned a well-deserved reputation for her extraordinary volunteerism across Laguna Beach. She is the founding director of No Square Theatre, where, for the past 25 years, she has been relied upon to shoulder many critical organizational tasks. Sande has also served as an Event Chair for Laguna Beach Live! and Laguna Beach Community Band, where she is also an honorary member, and has even conducted for them. She has served as a docent for Sawdust, been an usher for Laguna Playhouse, and to date still remains dedicated to many of Laguna Beach’s arts and civic organizations. In fact, her dedication to this community and her volunteerism has earned her a spot on the 2018 OC Register’s list as one of the Top 100 Influencers in Orange County.

The Laguna Beach Arts Alliance was established in 2002 as the result of an exciting partnership among more than 20 Laguna Beach organizations. The mission is to serve as an advocate for the arts, promote collaboration and networking among the arts organizations of Laguna Beach, and to serve as a united voice for the arts in the city. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeacharts.org.